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Chapter XI — Private Members’ Business

Notice (Standing Orders [ 8686.186.2 ])
Order of Precedence (Standing Orders [ 878889909191.192939495969797.198 ])
Suspension (Standing Order [ 99 ])
Historical Summary — Standing Orders 86 to 99

Introduction

Each sitting day, one hour of House time is set aside for the consideration of Private Members’ Business, that is, of bills and motions sponsored by Members who are not Cabinet Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are also excluded from Private Members’ Business. Individual bills and motions are taken up by the House only after several unique Standing Order requirements are met. For example, a random draw is held to establish in what order Members’ names are added to the order of precedence, which is a list of bills and motions that will receive priority consideration. Similarly, during consideration, specific Standing Orders apply, governing, for example, the role of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, time limits on speeches and the deferring of divisions. The resultant homogeneous grouping of Standing Orders dealing with that class of business lends itself to the global historical narrative provided in this chapter.

Notice

Standing Order 86
Notice of item by one Member.
86.
(1)
Any one Member may give notice of an item of Private Members’ Business.
More than one seconder.
 
(2)
Notwithstanding the usual practices of the House, not more than twenty Members may jointly second an item under Private Members’ Business and may indicate their desire to second any motion in conjunction with the Member in whose name it first appeared on the Notice Paper, by so indicating, in writing to the Clerk of the House, at any time prior to the item being proposed.
Appending seconders’ names.
 
(3)
Any names received, pursuant to section (2) of this Standing Order, shall be appended to the notice or order as the case may be. Once proposed to the House, Members’ names shall not be added to the list of those seconding the said motion or order.
Similar items. Speaker to decide.
 
(4)
The Speaker shall be responsible for determining whether two or more items are so similar as to be substantially the same, in which case he or she shall so inform the Member or Members whose items were received last and the same shall be returned to the Member or Members without having appeared on the Notice Paper.

Commentary — Standing Order 86

Standing Order 86(1) indicates that notice of an item of Private Members’ Business need be given by only one Member. Private Members’ bills and motions require the usual 48 hours’ notice (see Standing Order 54). Once the notice period has expired, a private Members’ bill may be introduced and given first reading during Routine Proceedings. Motions are transferred automatically to the Order Paper upon the expiry of the notice period.

Standing Orders 86(2) and (3) further provide that a Member who would like to support an item of Private Members’ Business may write to the Clerk (in practice, the Journals Branch) and ask that their name be listed as a seconder for the item. The names of these Members would appear with the item when it first appears on the Order Paper under Private Members’ Business (and subsequently) provided the Members had, prior to that time, indicated a desire to second the item. If the item is already on the Order Paper, the names of Members will appear the day after they indicate their desire to second it. No more than 20 Members may be listed as joint seconders for a particular item. Names may be received and “appended to the notice or order as the case may be”, only before the item has actually been proposed to the House. In the case of bills, no further names may be added once the order for second reading has been proposed. The Member who seconds the item when it is proposed in the House need not be one of the seconders listed on the Order Paper.

A certain item (or items) of Private Members’ Business for which notice has been given may coincidentally be substantially the same as another. In such a case, Standing Order 86(5) delegates to the Speaker the discretionary power to refuse the most recent notice, and to so inform the Member and return the item. For items to be substantially the same, they must have the same purpose and seek to achieve that purpose by the same means. [1]

Standing Order 86.1
Private Members’ Business to continue.
86.1.
At the beginning of the second or a subsequent session of a Parliament, all items of Private Members’ Business originating in the House of Commons that were listed on the Order Paper during the previous session shall be deemed to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation and shall stand, if necessary, on the Order Paper or, as the case may be, referred to committee and the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business and the order of precedence established pursuant to Standing Order 87 shall continue from session to session.

Commentary — Standing Order 86.1

Prorogation of a session usually brings to an end all proceedings before Parliament. Unfinished business “dies” on the Order Paper and must be started anew in a subsequent session. The provisions of Standing Order 86.1, however, mean that prorogation has almost no practical effect on Private Members’ Business. The List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, established at the beginning of a Parliament, and the order of precedence, established pursuant to Standing Order 87, continue from session to session. Private Members’ bills and motions, including motions for papers which have been transferred for debate, need not be reintroduced in a new session as they automatically are deemed to have passed all stages completed in the previous session and retain the same place on the Order Paper. Thus, items placed in the order of precedence remain there. Items designated as non-votable maintain that designation. Private Members’ bills are deemed to have been adopted at all stages of the legislative process agreed to in the previous session. If consideration of an item at a certain stage had begun but had not been completed, the item is restored at the beginning of that stage, as if no debate had yet occurred. [2] Bills that were referred to a committee in the previous session are deemed referred back to the same committee. For the purposes of Standing Order 97.1, the deadline for reporting a private Members’ bill from committee is 60 sitting days following the day it is deemed referred to the committee, normally the first day of the session. [3] For ease of reference, all bills and motions under Private Members’ Business retain the same number from session to session.

Bills and motions that were defeated, withdrawn or dropped from the Order Paper are no longer before the House and are therefore not carried over following a prorogation. They may, however, be reintroduced. Also, Senate bills are not carried over under the provisions of this Standing Order but, if they are once again adopted by the Senate, they can be reinstated in the House pursuant to Standing Order 86.2. Finally, no item can be carried over from one Parliament to the next.

Standing Order 86.2
Reinstatement of Senate public bills after prorogation.
86.2.
(1)
During the first sixty sitting days of the second or subsequent session of a Parliament, whenever a private Member proposing the first reading of a bill brought from the Senate pursuant to Standing Order 69(2) states that the bill is in the same form as a Senate public bill that was before the House in the previous session and the Speaker is satisfied that the bill is in the same form as at prorogation, notwithstanding Standing Order 71, the bill shall be deemed to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation and shall stand, if necessary, on the Order Paper pursuant to Standing Order 87 after those of the same class, at the same stage at which it stood at the time of prorogation or, as the case may be, referred to committee, and with the votable status accorded to it pursuant to Standing Order 92(1) during the previous session.
Member not to lose place on List.
 
(2)
A Member shall not lose his or her place on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business by virtue of sponsoring a Senate public bill or a private bill, but no Member may sponsor more than one such bill during a Parliament.

Commentary — Standing Order 86.2

Some private Members’ bills originate in the Senate and are sent to the House after passage by the Senate. As they are the result of proceedings in the other place, these bills cannot automatically be carried over from session to session. However, should the Senate decide to adopt a bill that is identical to one sent to the House in a previous session of the same Parliament, the sponsor of the bill in the House may ask that it be reinstated at the same stage of the legislative process. Such reinstatement can occur only within the first 60 sitting days of the session. If the bill receives first reading later than 60 days into the session, no reinstatement is possible and the bill must continue through the regular legislative process. In addition, only Senate public bills can be reinstated. Private bills, which are subject to a number of other requirements (see Chapter XV), are not eligible for reinstatement.

The request for reinstatement is made by the sponsor at the moment of the bill’s first reading. If the Speaker agrees that the bill is in the same form as a previous bill, he or she then announces that the bill is deemed to have passed whatever stages the House had agreed to in the previous session. [4] If consideration of the bill at a certain stage had begun but had not been completed, the item is restored at the beginning of that stage as if no debate had yet occurred. Bills that were referred to a committee in the previous session are deemed referred back to the same committee. If the bill in question had been designated non-votable pursuant to Standing Order 92, that designation is maintained in the new session.

When sponsoring a Senate public bill or a private bill from either House, a Member need not use his or her place in the List of Consideration for Private Members’ Business. Such bills are added automatically to the order of precedence pursuant to Standing Order 89. However, each Member may sponsor only one Senate public bill or one private bill over the course of a Parliament.

Order of Precedence

Standing Order 87
Establishing List and order of precedence at beginning of Session.
87.
(1)
(a)
(i)
At the beginning of the first session of a Parliament, the Clerk of the House, acting on behalf of the Speaker, shall, after notifying all Members of the time, date and place, conduct a random draw of the names of all Members of the House to establish the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, and, on the twentieth sitting day following the draw, the first thirty names on the List shall, subject to paragraph (c) of this Standing Order, constitute the order of precedence.
Ineligible Members.
 
 
 
(ii)
Following the draw referred to in subparagraph (i) of this section, the names of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, who are ineligible by virtue of their offices, shall be dropped to the bottom of the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, where they will remain as long as they hold those offices.
Members becoming eligible.
 
 
 
(iii)
Members who become eligible during the course of a Parliament shall be added to the bottom of the eligible names on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, provided that their position shall be determined by a draw if more than one Member becomes eligible on a given day.
Member to specify item.
 
 
(b)
Not later than the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on the second sitting day after the day on which the order of precedence is established or replenished, each Member whose name has been newly placed in the order of precedence, and who has given notice of more than one item, shall file with the Clerk an indication as to which item is to be placed in the order of precedence. If a Member does not file such an indication within the time specified, the first bill standing on the Order Paper in the name of that Member under Private Members’ Business will be included in the order of precedence. Where there are no bills standing in the name of the Member, the first motion standing in the name of that Member shall be selected or, if required, the first motion in the name of that Member under the heading “Notices of Motions (Papers)”.
Eligibility for order of precedence.
 
 
(c)
(i)
In order to be placed in the order of precedence pursuant to paragraph (a) of this Standing Order, a Member must have a notice of motion on the Order Paper or Notice Paper or a bill on the Order Paper set down for consideration at the second reading stage.
(ii)
If at the end of the time provided for in paragraph (b) of this Standing Order, a Member whose name is in the order of precedence does not have a notice of motion on the Order Paper or Notice Paper, or a bill set down on the Order Paper for consideration at second reading stage, then the name of the Member shall be dropped from the List for Consideration of Private Members’ Business.
Designation as non-votable.
 
 
(d)
Not later than the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on the second sitting day after the day on which the order of precedence is esta­blished or replenished, a Member whose name has been placed in the order of precedence may indicate that he or she wishes to have his or her item designated non-votable by informing the Clerk in writing.
During a Parliament.
 
(2)
The Clerk of the House, acting on behalf of the Speaker, shall, when necessary during a Parliament, replenish the order of precedence with the names of the next fifteen Members on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business.
Establishing new List.
 
(3)
If during the course of a Parliament, there are fewer than fifteen eligible names remaining on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, the Clerk, acting on behalf of the Speaker shall, after notifying all Members of the time, date and place, conduct a random draw of the names of all Members of the House to establish a new List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business.
Notice of other items.
 
(4)
The establishment of an order of precedence for Private Members’ Business shall not be construed so as to prevent Members from giving notice of items of Private Members’ Business.
Only order of precedence items to be considered.
 
(5)
The House shall not consider any order for the second reading and reference to a standing, special or legislative committee or for reference to a Committee of the Whole House of any bill, nor any Notices of Motions or Notices of Motions (Papers) unless the said item has been placed in the order of precedence.

Commentary — Standing Order 87

Government bills and motions are called for debate in the order the government chooses. However, items of Private Members’ Business are called according to their order of precedence as determined by a random draw.

At the beginning of a Parliament, the names of all Members are drawn to establish a List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. At least 48 hours before the draw is held, the Clerk of the House notifies Members of the date, time and place of the draw. Members and their staff may attend the draw, but their presence is not required. Draws are usually conducted by the Speaker or another Chair Occupant and organized by the Private Members’ Business Office, acting on behalf of the Clerk of the House.

All Members’ names are placed on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, whether they have submitted an item of Private Members’ Business or not. Since the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are ineligible to take part in Private Members’ Business, their names are placed in a separate category at the bottom of the List, where they remain as long as they hold office. If, over the course of the Parliament, a Member ceases to hold one of those offices, then their name is added at the bottom of the List of eligible Members. When more than one Member becomes eligible on the same day, their names are added in the order in which they were drawn when the List was established. When, as a result of by-elections, two or more new Members are added to the List on the same day, the order in which their names appear is determined by a draw done by the Private Members’ Business Office.

On the 20th sitting day following the draw, the first 30 Members on the List, who have introduced a bill or given notice of a motion on the Notice Paper, constitute the order of precedence. A Member must have at least one of the following items in order to be placed in the order of precedence: a bill that has already been introduced and given first reading; a motion that has been placed on notice; or a motion for the production of papers that has been transferred for debate. A Member who does not have at least one of the above items at the time his or her name is ready to be transferred to the order of precedence is dropped from the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. He or she will be eligible again only once the List is exhausted or at the beginning of the next Parliament.

If a Member whose name has been placed on the order of precedence has more than one bill or motion, the Private Members’ Business Office contacts the Member to ask him or her to choose one item from among those in his or her name. The Member has until the ordinary time of adjournment on the second sitting day after their name has been added to the order of precedence to inform the Private Members’ Business Office in writing of the item chosen. If the Member fails to indicate a choice, then the first bill that he or she introduced in the House is deemed to have been chosen and is placed in the order of precedence. When there are no bills standing in the name of the Member, the first motion standing in his or her name will be selected or, if required, the first notice of motion (papers). The items added to the order of precedence are then published in the Order Paper.

Members may wish only to have their item debated, without it coming to a vote. No later than the adjournment hour on the second sitting day after the item has been added to the order of precedence, the Member may inform the Clerk of the House in writing that he or she wishes to have his or her item designated as non-votable. Items may also be designated as non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, though such a decision is subject to an appeal process (see Standing Orders 91.1 and 92).

A Member may decide that he or she no longer wishes to debate a particular bill or motion and, thus, does not wish to see it placed in the order of precedence. The Member may remove a motion which is outside the order of precedence simply by writing to the Journals Branch; likewise for a bill which is on notice but has not yet been introduced and given first reading. If, however, the Member wishes to remove a bill which has been given first reading, he or she must request the unanimous consent of the House since the House has ordered that the bill be set down for second reading. Once an item is placed in the order of precedence, the Member must seek the unanimous consent of the House to remove it. [5]

When a decision is reached on an item, it subsequently disappears from the Order Paper. Non-votable items of Private Members’ Business are also dropped from the Order Paper after debate on them is concluded (see Standing Order 96). Thus the original number of 30 items is gradually reduced as the session progresses. Standing Order 87(2) provides that when necessary the Clerk shall replenish the order of precedence by adding the names of the next 15 Members on the List. This is usually done when there are fewer than 15 items remaining in the order of precedence. Again, Members must have an eligible item in order to be added to the order of precedence or else their name is dropped from the List.

Standing Order 87(3) provides that when fewer than 15 eligible names remain on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, another draw of Members’ names is held to establish a new List. This draw is held in the same manner and under the same provisions as the first draw of a new Parliament.

For greater clarity, Standing Order 87(4) underlines the fact that the existence of an order of precedence does not prohibit private Members from giving notice of items of business they wish to initiate. On the day for which notice is given (or, in the case of public bills originating in the House, on the day for which the House has ordered second reading consideration), such items are included in the “Items Outside the Order of Precedence” on the Order Paper. Until and unless these items are chosen for inclusion on the order of precedence, they are not numbered sequentially as are items in the order of precedence.

Standing Order 87(5) ensures that only those items in the order of precedence may be considered during Private Members’ Business.

Standing Order 88
 
88.
Deleted (June 30, 2005).

Commentary — Standing Order 88

At the time of its deletion, Standing Order 88 read, “Subject to Standing Order 71, at least two weeks shall elapse between first and second reading of Private Members’ Public Bills.” Given the manner in which bills are now added to the order of precedence, as well as the requirement for ten sitting days to elapse between the first and second hour of debate on an item (see Standing Order 93(2)), this provision was largely unnecessary and was deleted in 2005. [6]

Standing Orders 89 and 90
Order of bills on precedence list.
89.
The order for the first consideration of any subsequent stages of a bill already considered during Private Members’ Business, of second reading of a private bill and of second reading of a private Member’s public bill originating in the Senate shall be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence.
On adjournment or interruption.
90.
Except as provided pursuant to Standing Order 96, after any bill or other order standing in the name of a private Member has been considered in the House or in any Committee of the Whole and any proceeding thereon has been adjourned or interrupted, the said bill or order shall be placed on the Order Paper for the next sitting at the bottom of the order of precedence under the respective heading for such bills or orders.

Commentary — Standing Orders 89 and 90

These Standing Orders specify the precedence given to three particular types of items of Private Members’ Business on the Order Paper; all three are placed at the bottom of the order of precedence.

The first type of item is any bill ordered for consideration in the House at a subsequent stage, having already passed a previous stage during Private Members’ Business. For example, when a private Members’ public bill is returned to the House after having been amended in the Senate, the order for its first consideration at this subsequent stage appears at the bottom of the order of precedence.

The second such item is any private bill ordered for consideration a first time at second reading. In this case, Standing Order 89 ensures that any private bill (from the House or the Senate) to be first considered at second reading is automatically placed at the bottom of the order of precedence.

The third type of item contemplated by these Standing Orders is any private Members’ public bill originating in the Senate. When ordered for first consideration at second reading in the House, such an item is automatically placed at the bottom of the order of precedence.

If debate on any bill or other order is adjourned or interrupted during Private Members’ Hour or during the consideration of the bill or order in Committee of the Whole, Standing Order 90 provides for the subsequent disposition of such an item. All votable items, including motions for papers, are placed at the bottom of the order of precedence. Items designated as non votable are dropped from the Order Paper when debate on them is interrupted or adjourned, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 96 (see also Standing Order 41(2)).

Standing Order 91
Suspension of Private Members’ Business until order of precedence established.
91.
Notwithstanding Standing Order 30(6), the consideration of Private Members’ Business shall be suspended and the House shall continue to consider any business before it at the time otherwise provided for the consideration of Private Members’ Business until an order of precedence is established pursuant to Standing Order 87(1).

Commentary — Standing Order 91

Private Members’ Business has precedence for one hour each day: on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. According to this Standing Order, however, Private Members’ Business is suspended on any day prior to the establishment of the order of precedence. Instead of having a Private Members’ Hour, the House continues to consider whatever business is before it, usually Government Orders. On Mondays, since Private Members’ Business is scheduled at the opening of the day, Government Orders begin an hour earlier (see Standing Order 99(2)).

The timeline for establishing the order of precedence is stated in other rules. Standing Order 87 provides that 20 sitting days must elapse between the draw of Members’ names for the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, held at the opening of a new Parliament, and the transfer of the first 30 names to the order of precedence. This is to allow Members time to have items drafted. In addition, Members have a further two sitting days following the establishment of the order of precedence to select which of their items they wish to have debated. Finally, Standing Order 91.1 provides that no item can be considered until a final determination is made as to whether or not it should be votable. All of these provisions mean that Private Members’ Business does not generally begin until around the 30th sitting day of a new Parliament.

Standing Order 91.1
Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business.
91.1.
(1)
At the beginning of the first session of a Parliament, and thereafter as required, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs shall name one Member from each of the parties recognized in the House and a Chair from the government party to constitute the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, which shall be empowered to meet forthwith after the establishment or replenishment of the order of precedence to determine whether any of the items placed in the order of precedence are non-votable according to the criteria adopted by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, provided that no item shall be considered by the House unless the condition set out in section (2) of this Standing Order or one of the conditions in Standing Order 92(1)(b) has been satisfied. If necessary, the item shall be dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence.
Report of the Subcommittee.
 
(2)
After it has met pursuant to section (1) of this Standing Order, the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business shall forthwith deposit with the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs a report recommending that the items listed therein, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House, and that report, which shall be deemed to have been adopted by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, shall be presented to the House at the next earliest opportunity as a report of that Committee and shall be deemed concurred in as soon as it is presented.

Commentary — Standing Order 91.1

All items of Private Members’ Business are required to come to a vote after two hours of debate (see Standing Order 93). The sponsor of an item may request that it not be put to a vote (see Standing Order 87(1)(d)). However, on the basis of a list of criteria established by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business also has the authority to decide that a particular item should not be votable.

While it is usually up to each committee to designate the membership of its subcommittees, Standing Order 91.1 provides that the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business shall be composed of one Member from each recognized party in the House and a Chair from the government party. The Procedure and House Affairs Committee may choose to designate specific Members to serve on the Subcommittee or may delegate that power to the party Whips. In forming the Subcommittee, the Standing Committee may draw not only on its members but also on its associate members.

Following the addition of items to the order of precedence, the Subcommittee meets as soon as possible to determine if any of the items should be designated as non-votable. The Subcommittee cannot designate motions for papers as non-votable items since Standing Order 97(2) already requires such motions to come to a vote. There are four criteria established by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs [7] by which bills and motions may be declared non-votable, namely:

  1. Bills and motions must not concern questions that are outside federal jurisdiction.
  2. Bills and motions must not clearly violate the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  3. Bills and motions must not concern questions that are substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current session of Parliament.
  4. Bills and motions must not concern questions that are currently on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business.

No item of Private Members’ Business can be taken up by the House until a determination is made whether or not it should remain votable. If the Subcommittee sees no reason to designate an item as non-votable, it files a report to that effect with the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Such a report is deemed to have been adopted by the Committee and is presented to the House by a member of the Committee at the next earliest opportunity. The report is deemed adopted upon its presentation. Debate may then proceed on the item in question when it reaches the top of the order of precedence. If the Subcommittee feels that an item should be designated as non-votable, it reports that decision to the Standing Committee and the sponsor of the item may avail himself or herself of the appeal process defined in Standing Order 92. The item may not be considered by the House until the appeal process is complete, unless the sponsor of the item waives his or her right to appeal. If an item reaches the top of the order of precedence before its votable status has been confirmed or before the appeal process has concluded, then the item is automatically dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence.

Standing Order 92
Report of Sub-committee on non-votable items.
92.
(1)
(a)
When the Subcommittee agrees that an item of Private Members’ Business originating in the House of Commons, or a Senate public bill which is similar to a bill voted on by the House in the same Parliament, should be designated as non-votable, it shall forthwith deposit a report of its decision with the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
(b)
When the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business has reported that an item should be designated non-votable pursuant to paragraph (a) of this Standing Order, the item may be considered by the House only after:
(i)
a final decision on the votable status of the item has been made pursuant to section (4) of this Standing Order; or
(ii)
the sponsor of the item has waived the right to appeal by so notifying the Speaker in writing.
Appearance of sponsor.
 
(2)
Within five sitting days of the deposit of a report referred to in paragraph (1)(a) of this Standing Order, the sponsor of an item that is the object of the report shall have the opportunity to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and to provide a written submission to the Committee to explain why the item should be votable.
Report to House.
 
(3)
(a)
Where the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, following proceedings pursuant to section (2) of this Standing Order, concurs in the report of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, it shall report that decision to the House forthwith, and, notwithstanding Standing Order 54, no notice of a motion to concur in the Committee’s report shall be receivable.
(b)
Where the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, following proceedings pursuant to section (2) of this Standing Order, does not concur in the report of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business and is of the opinion that the item should remain votable, it shall report that decision to the House forthwith, and the report shall, upon presentation, be deemed concurred in.
Filing of appeal.
 
(4)
(a)
Where a report pursuant to paragraph (3)(a) of this Standing Order has been presented to the House, the sponsor of the item which is the object of the report may appeal the decision of the Committee by filing with the Speaker within five sitting days of the presentation of the said report, a motion to that effect signed by the sponsor and five other Members of the House representing a majority of the recognized parties in the House, and, if no appeal is filed with the Speaker during the period provided for in this paragraph, or if the sponsor has waived the right to appeal by so notifying the Speaker in writing, the report is deemed adopted.
Secret ballot on appeal.
 
 
(b)
Where the Speaker is satisfied that a motion in appeal filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section is in conformity with the Standing Orders, he or she shall inform the House to that effect and shall cause a vote on the appeal to be held by secret ballot during the hours of sitting of the House on two sitting days to be designated by the Speaker, during which time Members may deposit their completed ballot papers in the ballot box placed on the Table for that purpose.

Commentary — Standing Order 92

This Standing Order spells out the process by which the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business may designate an item as non-votable, as well as how the sponsor of the item may appeal that decision. Not all items of Private Members’ Business can be designated as non-votable. For example, Standing Order 97(2) requires that motions for papers come to a vote. A Senate public bill can be designated non-votable only on the grounds that it is similar to a bill the House voted on earlier in the Parliament. The Subcommittee has no mandate to examine Senate private bills. All House bills and motions can be made non-votable according to the criteria established by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (see the Commentary for Standing Order 91.1).

If the Subcommittee feels that an item should be non-votable, it reports that decision to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The sponsor of the item may appear before the Standing Committee within five sitting days of the Subcommittee presenting its report to the clerk of the Committee. The Member may present arguments as to why the item should remain votable. If the Committee, after hearing from the Member, agrees with him or her, it presents a report to the House stating that the item should be votable. This report is deemed adopted upon presentation. If the Committee agrees with the Subcommittee, it presents a report to the House stating that the item should not be votable. No motion to concur in the Committee’s report may be presented; however the sponsor may appeal the decision to the House.

Within five sitting days of the presentation of such a report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the sponsor of an item may file an appeal with the Speaker, in the form of a notice of motion that the item remain votable. In addition to the sponsor, five other Members, representing a majority of the parties in the House, must sign the appeal. If the appeal is in order, the Speaker causes a vote by secret ballot to be held over the course of two sitting days designated by him or her. For that purpose, a ballot box is placed in the Chamber. The results of the ballot are announced by the Speaker at a subsequent sitting. Should the sponsor not file an appeal within five sitting days, then the report is deemed adopted and the item is designated as non-votable. [8]

Until the appeal process is complete, the item cannot be considered by the House. If the item reaches the top of the order of precedence during the appeal process, it is automatically dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence without having been considered. If the sponsor wishes to have the item debated without waiting for the appeal process to conclude, he or she may write to the Speaker and waive the right to appeal. Debate on the item can then proceed when it reaches the top of the order of precedence.

Standing Order 93
Time limit on items. Dropping of item to bottom of order of precedence.
93.
(1)
(a)
Except as provided for in Standing Order 96(1), unless previously disposed of, bills at the second reading stage or motions shall receive not more than two hours of consideration and, unless previously disposed of, an item having been once considered, shall be dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence and again considered only when it reaches the top of the said order.
Question put.
 
 
 
Provided that, unless otherwise disposed of, at the end of the time provided for the consideration of the said item, any proceedings then before the House shall be interrupted and every question necessary to dispose of the motion or of the bill at the second reading stage, shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Deferral of recorded divisions.
 
 
(b)
Any recorded division on an item of Private Members’ Business demanded pursuant to Standing Order 45(1) shall be deferred to the next Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business.
Ten sitting days to elapse.
 
(2)
At least ten sitting days shall elapse between the first and second hour of debate on items referred to in section (1) of this Standing Order.
Amendments by consent.
 
(3)
Amendments to motions and to the motion for the second reading of a bill may only be moved with the consent of the sponsor of the item.

Commentary — Standing Order 93

Standing Order 93(1) provides that a votable item, if not otherwise disposed of after its first consideration, be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence, where it moves toward the top as items above it are considered during Private Members’ Business. While an item may move up the order of precedence more quickly due to exchanges with other Members, Standing Order 93(2) requires that at least ten sitting days elapse between the first hour of debate and the second hour of debate. Once the item reaches the top again, it is debated for a second time and, if debate has not yet concluded by the end of the second hour, the Speaker interrupts proceedings and puts every question necessary to dispose of the item without any further debate or amendment. If five Members rise to request a recorded division, that division is deferred until the following Wednesday, immediately before Private Members’ Hour (usually 5:30 p.m.).

When an item which is a motion eventually comes to a vote, the House concludes by rendering its opinion, and the motion is either agreed to or negatived. If the item is a bill, the vote is on second reading and reference to a committee. If negatived, the bill is dropped from the Order Paper; if agreed to, it is referred to a committee for clause-by-clause consideration and possible amendment. The Standing Orders impose a 60-sitting day limit on the time for consideration in committee, after which the bill is deemed to have been reported back without amendment (see Standing Order 97.1). When the bill is reported back (or deemed reported back) to the House, it is placed at the bottom of the order of precedence in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 98(1) and considered at report stage when it reaches the top.

Standing Order 93(3) provides that no amendment may be proposed to a private Member’s motion or to the motion for second reading of a private Member’s bill unless the sponsor of the item indicates his or her consent. Once an amendment is moved, the Speaker will normally ask the sponsor of the item if he or she agrees to allow the amendment before proposing it to the House. [9] (Of course, the Speaker must decide if the amendment is procedurally acceptable before proposing it to the House.) If the sponsor is not present, the Speaker may ask the mover of the amendment if the sponsor’s consent has been obtained. [10] The consent of the sponsor is not required for motions in amendment to bills at report stage or for amendments to the motion for third reading of a private Member’s bill.

Standing Order 94
Speaker’s responsibility.
94.
(1)
(a)
The Speaker shall make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members’ Business including:
Notice of items to be considered.
 
 
 
(i)
ensuring that all Members have not less than twenty-four hours’ notice of items to be considered during “Private Members’ Hour”; and
Publication of notice.
 
 
 
(ii)
ensuring that the notice required by subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is published in the Notice Paper.
Private Members’ Hour suspended when notice not published.
 
 
(b)
in the event of it not being possible to provide the twenty-four hours’ notice required by subparagraph (i) of this section, “Private Members’ Hour” shall be suspended for that day and the House shall continue with or revert to the business before it prior to “Private Members’ Hour” until the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.
Forty-eight hours’ notice required when Member unable to move his or her item. Speaker to arrange an exchange.
 
(2)
(a)
When a Member has given at least forty-eight hours’ written notice that he or she is unable to be present to move his or her motion under Private Members’ Business on the date required by the order of precedence, the Speaker, with permission of the Members involved, may arrange for an exchange of positions in the order of precedence with a Member whose motion or bill has been placed in the order of precedence, provided that, with respect to the Member accepting the exchange, all of the requirements of Standing Order 92 necessary for the Member’s item to be called for debate have been complied with.
When no arrangement can be made, business before House to continue.
 
 
(b)
In the event that the Speaker has been unable to arrange an exchange, the House shall continue with the business before it prior to “Private Members’ Hour”.
Limitation on exchanges.
 
 
(c)
When an item is placed at the bottom of the order of precedence pursuant to Standing Order 42(2) or 94(2)(b), that shall be indicated on the Order Paper by marking the item with an asterisk and
(i)
the sponsor shall be prohibited from requesting an exchange pursuant to Standing Order 94(2)(a); and
(ii)
notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 42(2), if the item is not proceeded with when next called, it shall be dropped from the Order Paper.

Commentary — Standing Order 94

The order of precedence for Private Members’ Business indicates to all Members when particular items are expected to be up for consideration. Yet because, for a number of reasons, Private Members’ Business is sometimes suspended, and because the Speaker is obliged to “make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members’ Business”, an additional notice is required by Standing Order 94(1)(a). Under this section, at least 24-hours’ notice must be given before an item on the order of precedence can be considered. This special notice must be published in the Notice Paper. If no notice is published, then Private Members’ Business is suspended that day and the House continues whatever business was previously before it. When Private Members’ Business is suspended on a Monday, when it is the first order of business of the sitting, the House proceeds to consider Government Orders at 11:00 a.m. (see Standing Order 99(2)).

A large measure of flexibility is retained through Standing Order 94(2). Any Member whose item is scheduled for consideration during Private Members’ Business and who is unable to be present that day can notify the Speaker in writing at least 48 hours in advance. The Standing Order then authorizes the Speaker, with the permission of the Members involved, to exchange the item on the order of precedence with another item and Private Members’ Business proceeds as usual. Exchanges are limited in that the item which is moving up the order of precedence must be eligible to be debated under the provisions of Standing Order 92. This means that if the item has been designated as non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, then the item cannot be exchanged until the appeal process is complete or the sponsor waives the right to appeal. Though not explicitly stated in this rule, the requirement for an item’s votable status to be confirmed before it is debated (see Standing Order 91.1) and the need for ten sitting days to elapse between the first hour and the second hour of an item’s consideration (see Standing Order 93(2)) can also limit which items are eligible to be exchanged.

Should such an exchange be impossible, then the item is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence and marked with an asterisk. Private Members’ Business is suspended for that day and the House simply continues with whatever business was previously before it or, on Mondays, proceeds to consider Government Orders. If a Member has not asked for an exchange and is absent when his or her item is called the first time, the item is also dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence and marked with an asterisk. In this case, however, the sitting of the House is suspended for the duration of Private Members’ Hour that day. Once an item is marked with an asterisk, its sponsor may not request an exchange, though he or she may accept an exchange requested by another Member. Furthermore, if the sponsor fails to proceed with the item the next time it reaches the top of the order of precedence, thereby causing the suspension of a second Private Members’ Hour, then the item is dropped from the Order Paper altogether. [11]

Standing Order 95
Time limit on speeches. Votable item.
95.
(1)
When an item of Private Members Business that is votable is under consideration, the Member moving the motion shall speak for not more than fifteen minutes followed by a five minute period for questions and comments. Thereafter, no Member shall speak for more than ten minutes. The Member moving the motion shall, if he or she chooses, speak again for not more than five minutes at the conclusion of the second hour of debate, or earlier if no other Member rises in debate.
Time limit on speeches. Non-votable item.
 
(2)
When an item of Private Members’ Business that is not votable is proposed, the Member moving the motion shall speak for not more than fifteen minutes. Thereafter, no Member shall speak for more than ten minutes for a period not exceeding forty minutes. After forty minutes, or earlier if no other Member rises in debate, the Member moving the motion shall, if he or she chooses, speak again for not more than five minutes and thereby conclude the debate.
No dilatory motions.
 
(3)
No dilatory motions shall be allowed during Private Members’ Business.

Commentary — Standing Order 95

This Standing Order provides that each Member speaking during consideration of Private Members’ Business is limited to ten minutes. An exception is made in the case of the Member moving the item under consideration, in that he or she may speak for up to 15 minutes. The sponsor is also afforded a five-minute right of reply, either when no further Members wish to speak or at the conclusion of debate on the item. In the case of a votable item, the sponsor’s opening speech is subject to a five-minute question-and-comment period. There is no question-and-comment period after the speeches of other Members, nor is there one after the sponsor’s speech if the item in question has been designated non-votable.

Section (3) prohibits dilatory motions during the consideration of Private Members’ Business. A dilatory motion is a superseding motion designed to dispose of the original question before the House either for the time being or permanently. [12] Examples of such motions are motions to adjourn the House or to adjourn debate.

Standing Order 96
Dropped orders.
96.
(1)
The proceedings on any item of Private Members’ Business which has been designated non-votable pursuant to Standing Orders 87(1)(d) or 92 shall expire when debate thereon has been concluded or at the end of the time provided for the consideration of such business on that day and that item shall be dropped from the Order Paper.
Not to be considered as a decision of the House.
 
(2)
The dropping of an item pursuant to section (1) of this Standing Order shall not be considered a decision of the House.

Commentary — Standing Order 96

Standing Order 96(1) states that at the conclusion of the debate on an item of Private Members’ Business that has been designated non-votable, the item disappears from the Order Paper. Debate concludes on non-votable items once the hour provided for Private Members’ Business that day has expired, or earlier if no further Member rises to speak. Other Standing Orders provide that votable items remain on the Order Paper until their consideration is complete (see Standing Orders 90, 93(1) and 98(2)).

Normally the House cannot be placed in a position of having to decide a question twice in the same session. However, Standing Order 96(2) reinforces the fact that dropping an item of Private Members’ Business from the Order Paper does not constitute a decision. As a result, a Member whose item has been dropped may, in effect, have his or her item placed back on the Order Paper simply by giving notice of the item in the usual manner. After the notice provision has been met, the item then takes its place on the Order Paper. However, this time it appears on the list of “Items Outside the Order of Precedence” and remains there unless and until it is chosen again for inclusion on the order of precedence by its sponsor.

Standing Order 97
Production of papers. When debate desired.
97.
(1)
Notices of motions for the production of papers shall be placed on the Order Paper under the heading “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers”. All such notices, when called, shall be forthwith disposed of; but if on any such motion a debate be desired by the Member proposing it or by a Minister of the Crown, the motion will be transferred by the Clerk to the order of “Notices of Motions (Papers)”.
Time limits on speeches and debate.
 
(2)
When debate on a motion for the production of papers, under the order “Notices of Motions (Papers)”, has taken place for a total time of one hour and fifty minutes, the Speaker shall at that point interrupt the debate, whereupon a Minister of the Crown or a Parliamentary Secretary speaking on behalf of the Minister, whether or not such Minister or Parliamentary Secretary has already spoken, may speak for not more than five minutes, following which the mover of the motion may close the debate by speaking for not more than five minutes, after which the Speaker shall forthwith put the question.

Commentary — Standing Order 97

Members may give notice of an intention to move a motion that certain papers or documents be compiled or produced and laid upon the Table of the House. If the House agrees to the motion, the House thereby orders their production and subsequently a return is made to that order. The Standing Order stipulates that such notices of motions shall be listed on the Order Paper under the heading “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers”. All such motions are worded in the form of either an order of the House or an address to the Crown.

The notices can be called only on Wednesdays, pursuant to the order of business provided for in Standing Order 30(6). The government may request that the notices be allowed to stand on the Order Paper (see Standing Order 42(1)). If called, however, they are to be disposed of forthwith without debate or amendment. [13] If the Member proposing the motion [14] or any Minister of the Crown [15] desires to have a debate on the motion, they may request, without debate, that it be transferred to a heading on the Order Paper under Private Members’ Business entitled “Notices of Motions (Papers)”. The motions will be subject to debate only if selected by the sponsoring Member for inclusion in the order of precedence.

Section (2) provides that debate on any item under the heading “Notices of Motions (Papers)” is limited to one hour and fifty minutes, after which the Speaker will interrupt debate. If desired, a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary speaking on behalf of a Minister, whether or not he or she has already spoken to the motion, may then speak for five minutes. The Standing Order provides that the mover of the motion may then speak for a maximum of five minutes to close the debate. [16] The Speaker is then obliged to put the question on the motion.

Standing Order 97.1
Committee report.
97.1.
(1)
A standing, special or legislative committee to which a Private Member’s public bill has been referred shall in every case, within sixty sitting days from the date of the bill’s reference to the committee, either report the bill to the House with or without amendment or present to the House a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with the bill and giving the reasons therefor or requesting a single extension of thirty sitting days to consider the bill, and giving the reasons therefor. If no bill or report is presented by the end of the sixty sitting days where no extension has been approved by the House, or by the end of the thirty sitting day extension if approved by the House, the bill shall be deemed to have been reported without amendment.
Report recommending not to proceed further with a bill. Motion placed on Notice Paper.
 
(2)
(a)
Immediately after the presentation of a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with a bill pursuant to section (1) of this Standing Order, the Clerk of the House shall cause to be placed on the Notice Paper a notice of motion for concurrence in the report, which shall stand in the name of the Member presenting the report. No other notice of motion for concurrence in the report shall be placed on the Notice Paper.
(b)
When a notice given pursuant to paragraph (a) of this Standing Order is transferred to the Order Paper under “Motions”, it shall be set down for consideration only pursuant to paragraph (c) of this Standing Order.
Debate on the motion.
 
 
(c)
Debate on the motion to concur in a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with a bill shall be taken up at the end of the time provided for the consideration of Private Members’ Business on a day fixed, after consultation, by the Speaker. The motion shall be deemed to be proposed and shall be considered for not more than one hour, provided that:
Time limit on speeches.
 
 
 
(i)
during consideration of any such motion, no Member shall speak more than once or for more than ten minutes;
Voting.
 
 
 
(ii)
unless previously disposed of, not later than the end of the said hour of consideration, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment, every question necessary to dispose of the motion; and
Deferral of recorded divisions.
 
 
 
(iii)
any recorded division on an item of Private Members’ Business demanded pursuant to Standing Order 45(1) shall be deemed deferred to the next Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business.
Motion adopted and proceedings on bill come to an end.
 
 
(d)
When a motion to concur in a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with a bill is adopted, all proceedings on the bill shall come to an end.
Motion negatived and bill deemed reported.
 
 
(e)
When a motion to concur in a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with a bill is negatived, the bill shall be deemed to have been reported without amendment.
Proceedings on a motion not concluded by 60th sitting day.
 
 
(f)
If proceedings on a motion to concur in a report at a committee containing a recommendation not to proceed further with a bill have not been concluded by the sixtieth sitting day following the date of the referral of the bill to the committee, or by the end of the thirty day extension, if one has been granted pursuant to sections (1) and (3) of this Standing Order, the said bill shall remain before the committee until proceedings on the motion to concur in the report have been concluded.
Request for an extension.
 
(3)
(a)
Upon presentation of a report requesting an extension of thirty sitting days to consider a bill referred to in section (1) of this Standing Order, a motion to concur in the report shall be deemed moved, the question deemed put, and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred to the next Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business.
Proceedings on report requesting an extension not concluded by 60th sitting day.
 
 
(b)
If proceedings on any motion to concur in a report of a committee requesting an extension of thirty sitting days to consider a bill have not been concluded by the sixtieth sitting day following the date of the referral of the bill to the committee, the said bill shall remain before the committee until proceedings on the motion to concur in the report have been concluded, provided that:
(i)
should the motion to concur in the report be adopted, the committee shall have an extension until the ninetieth sitting day following the date of the referral of the bill to the committee; or
(ii)
should the motion to concur in the report be negatived, the bill shall be deemed to have been reported without amendment.

Commentary — Standing Order 97.1

If a private Member’s bill is adopted by the House at second reading, the bill is referred to a standing, special or legislative committee for detailed study. This Standing Order stipulates that the committee has 60 sitting days following the date of the referral to do one of three things: complete its consideration of the bill and report it back to the House, with or without amendment; [17] present a report recommending that the bill not proceed further; [18] or present a report requesting an extra 30 sitting days to complete its consideration of the bill. [19] In the case of the two latter scenarios, the report of the committee must also contain the reasons for their decision. If the committee fails to make any such report by the 60th sitting day, then the bill is automatically deemed to have been reported back to the House without amendment. No announcement is made in the House, but an order for the bill’s consideration at report stage and third reading is placed at the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper, as it would be if the committee had reported the bill to the House in the usual manner. [20]

Section (2) of the Standing Order details how the House considers reports which recommend that a private Member’s bill not proceed further in the legislative process. Once the report is presented, a notice of motion to concur in the report is automatically placed on the Notice Paper. The motion stands in the name of the Member who presented the report, usually the Chair of the committee. No other motion to adopt the report can be placed on notice. After 48 hours, the motion is transferred to the Order Paper. However, contrary to most other motions for concurrence in a committee report, the motion cannot be moved during Routine Proceedings. Instead, it is taken up after Private Members’ Business on a day fixed by the Speaker. The motion is deemed moved at the beginning of the debate and may be considered for not more than one hour. All speeches are limited to ten minutes and are not followed by a five-minute question-and-comment period. At the end of the hour, or earlier if no further Members rise to speak, the Speaker puts the question on the motion. If five Members rise to request a recorded division on the motion, the division is automatically deferred until the following Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business (usually 5:30 p.m.). As with all deferred divisions, the bells to call in the Members for the vote sound for not more than 15 minutes.

It may happen that the committee presents its report prior to the expiry of the 60-sitting day limit, but that the House does not make a final decision on the committee’s recommendation until after this deadline has passed. This could also be the case when a 30-sitting day extension has been granted. Since the committee has met the requirements of this Standing Order by presenting a report, the bill is not deemed reported back to the House. Instead, the bill remains with the committee until the House comes to a final decision on the committee’s recommendation that the bill not proceed further.

When the House adopts the committee’s report, it expresses its agreement that the bill should not proceed further. Therefore, all work on the bill ceases for the remainder of that session. When the House rejects the committee’s report, it is expressing its will that the bill should proceed further. The bill is then deemed reported back to the House without amendment and is set down for consideration at report stage.

If the committee feels it will not be able to complete its consideration of the bill in 60 sitting days, it may present a report to the House requesting an extension of 30 further sitting days. Only one extension may be sought. Section (3) of the Standing Order details how the House may grant or refuse such a request. As soon as a committee report requesting an extension is presented, a motion to adopt the report is deemed to have been moved and seconded. No debate takes place, as the question on the motion is deemed put right away and a recorded division is deemed to have been requested, without five Members needing to stand. The vote is deferred until the following Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business (usually 5:30 p.m.). As with all deferred divisions, the bells to call in the Members for the vote sound for not more than 15 minutes.

It may happen that the committee requests an extension prior to the expiry of the 60-sitting day limit, but that the House does not make a final decision on the request until after this deadline has passed. Since the committee has met the requirements of this Standing Order by presenting a report, the bill is not deemed reported back at the expiry of the 60-sitting day limit. Instead, the bill remains with the committee until the House comes to a final decision on whether or not to grant the extension.

If the House agrees to grant the extension, then the committee has an extra 30 sitting days to complete its consideration of the bill. The extension begins immediately after the expiry of the original 60-sitting day limit, rather than on the day the extension is granted. This means that the new deadline for reporting is 90 sitting days following the original referral of the bill to committee. If the House refuses to grant the extension, but the original 60-sitting day deadline has yet to pass, the committee may continue to consider the bill until the 60th sitting day. If the extension is refused and the 60th sitting day has already passed, the bill is deemed reported without amendment and an order for its consideration at report stage is set down on the Order Paper.

Standing Order 98
Bill to be placed at bottom of the order of precedence after committee stage.
98.
(1)
When a Private Member’s bill is reported from a standing, special or legislative committee or a Committee of the Whole House, or is deemed to have been reported pursuant to Standing Orders 86.1 or 97.1, the order for consideration of the bill at report stage shall be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence notwithstanding Standing Order 87.
Two-day debate at certain stages of a bill.
 
(2)
The report and third reading stages of a Private Member’s bill shall be taken up on two sitting days, unless previously disposed of, provided that once consideration has been interrupted on the first such day the order for the remaining stage or stages shall be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence and shall be again considered when the said bill reaches the top of the said order.
Extension of sitting hours. Limited to five hours.
 
(3)
When the report or third reading stages of the said bill are before the House on the first of the sitting days provided pursuant to section (2) of this Standing Order, and if the said bill has not been disposed of prior to the end of the first thirty minutes of consideration, during any time then remaining, any one Member may propose a motion to extend the time for the consideration of any remaining stages on the second of the said sitting days during a period not exceeding five consecutive hours, which shall begin at the end of the time provided for Private Members’ Business, except on a Monday when the period shall begin at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, on the second sitting day, provided that:
Support of twenty Members.
 
 
(a)
the motion shall be put forthwith without debate or amendment and shall be deemed withdrawn if fewer than twenty members rise in support thereof; and
No subsequent motion unless intervening proceeding.
 
 
(b)
a subsequent such motion shall not be put unless there has been an intervening proceeding.
When question put.
 
(4)
(a)
On the second sitting day provided pursuant to section (2) of this Standing Order, unless previously disposed of, at the end of the time provided for the consideration thereof, any proceedings then before the House shall be interrupted and every question necessary to dispose of the then remaining stage or stages of the said bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Recorded division.
 
 
(b)
Any recorded division on an item of Private Members’ Business demanded pursuant to Standing Order 45(1) shall be deemed deferred to the next Wednesday, immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business.
Suspension of adjournment hour in certain cases.
 
(5)
If consideration has been extended pursuant to section (3) of this Standing Order, the Standing Orders relating to the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be suspended until all questions necessary to dispose of the said bill have been put.

Commentary — Standing Order 98

After a committee has reported a private Member’s bill back to the House, the House considers the bill at report stage and at third reading. The bill is placed back in the order of precedence at the bottom of the list. The same is true if the bill is deemed to have been reported because the committee failed to report within 60 sitting days (see Standing Order 97.1) or if the bill is reinstated from a previous session at report stage (see Standing Order 86.1). If the report and third reading stages are not otherwise disposed of after the first consideration pursuant to Standing Order 98, the bill drops once more to the bottom of the order of precedence and is not debated again until it reaches the top. At the end of the time provided for this second consideration, all questions necessary to dispose of the bill at report stage and third reading are put. If five Members request a recorded division, the vote is deferred until the following Wednesday at the beginning of the time provided for Private Members’ Business (usually 5:30 p.m.). The bill, if passed, is either sent to the Senate for consideration there (if the bill originated in the House), or for Royal Assent (if the bill originated in the Senate) or, if defeated, is dropped from the Order Paper.

Standing Order 98(3) provides that during the first consideration, debate at the report and third reading stages may, on motion made after the first 30 minutes of consideration, be extended by up to 5 hours on the second day if the House agrees. (As a result, the House does not adjourn at the ordinary hour on the second day. If the second day of consideration is a Monday, the extra period does not begin at 12:00 noon, when Private Members’ Business usually ends, but at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.) However, such a motion is deemed withdrawn if fewer than 20 Members rise to support it. Following the disposition of such a motion, there must be an intervening proceeding before a second one may be proposed.

Suspension

Standing Order 99
Suspension of Private Members’ Business in provided cases.
99.
(1)
The proceedings on Private Members’ Business shall not be suspended except as provided for in Standing Orders 2(3), 30(4), 30(7), 52(14), 83(2), 91, 92(1)(b) and 94(1)(b) or as otherwise specified by Special Order of this House. No Private Members’ Business shall be taken up on days appointed for the consideration of business pursuant to Standing Order 53 nor on days, other than Mondays, appointed for the consideration of business pursuant to Standing Order 81(18).
Suspension on a Monday.
 
(2)
Whenever Private Members’ Business is suspended or not taken up on a Monday, the House shall meet from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon for the consideration of Government Orders.

Commentary — Standing Order 99

There are times when the consideration of Private Members’ Business is suspended. Those times, pursuant to this Standing Order, are as follows: on any day the House proceeds to elect a Speaker (Standing Order 2(3)); during any emergency debate that conflicts with Private Members’ Business (Standing Order 52(14)); during any day on which the Budget presentation is scheduled to take place prior to the time designated for Private Members’ Business (Standing Order 83(2)); on any day prior to the order of precedence being established (Standing Order 91); on any day when it has not been possible to provide 24-hours’ notice of the item to be considered during Private Members’ Business (Standing Order 94(1)(b)); on any day when a Minister moves a motion and debate subsequently takes place in relation to a matter the government considers to be of an urgent nature (Standing Order 53) — if the Minister moves the motion during Private Members’ Business, only the remaining consideration is suspended; and on the last allotted day in the Supply period ending June 23, unless that day is a Monday, in which case Private Members’ Business is considered as usual.

In addition, Standing Order 30(4) provides that as much of Private Members’ Business as is necessary is suspended on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the House continues to sit past the normal time for Routine Proceedings in order to complete “Introduction of Government Bills”. Standing Order 30(7) also provides that, if the start of Private Members’ Hour is delayed more than 30 minutes past the time when it would have normally ended, then Private Members’ Business is suspended for that day. For example, if Private Members’ Business is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and has yet to start by 7:00 p.m., then the hour is suspended. This most frequently occurs when there are many recorded divisions held at the end of Government Orders. [21] The Speaker reschedules debate on the item for another sitting day, usually resulting in two Private Members’ Hours on one day.

The suspension of Private Members’ Business may occur in other instances not expressly provided for in this Standing Order, such as when the sponsor of an item is absent and no exchange of items can be arranged under Standing Order 94 or when a question of privilege is being considered by the House.

Private Members’ Business is the first order of business considered on Mondays. When Private Members’ Business is suspended on a Monday, rather than have the House meet only to suspend the sitting until 12:00 noon, when Government Orders are scheduled to begin, section (2) of this Standing Order allows the House to consider Government Orders during the time usually set aside for Private Members’ Business.

Historical Summary — Standing Orders 86 to 99

A survey of the procedures governing Private Members’ Business can be easily divided into three stages. The first, from Confederation to 1986, is characterized by two broad themes: the precedence accorded to Private Members’ Business generally, and the precedence accorded to items within Private Members’ Business. Given the sweeping procedural changes beginning in 1986, a survey of this first phase highlights only the major modifications essential to an appreciation of the current practice.

The second phase, from 1986 to 2003, represents a significant shift in the conduct of Private Members’ Business. An historical survey of this second phase includes the same themes as the first; namely, precedence and House time accorded Private Members’ Business, and the procedures for establishing precedence for consideration of such items. In addition, this second phase deals with the conditions under which Private Members’ Business is suspended, and the selection of votable items by a committee.

The current procedures for Private Members’ Business were adopted provisionally in 2003 and made permanent in 2005. While a few relatively minor amendments were adopted relating to the time for and suspension of Private Members’ Business, major changes were made in the manner in which the order of precedence is established. In addition, another key change was that all items considered by the House were required to come to a vote, unless specifically designated as non-votable.

  1. 1867 to 1986

    (a) Provisions of Time for Private Members’ Business

    From 1867 to 1962, the Standing Orders gave precedence to Private Members’ Business on particular days in each week. However, successive governments found such a distribution inadequate for the conduct of their own legislative programs, and regularly gave precedence to their own business via special and sessional orders.

    By 1906, this pattern had established itself to such a degree that in that year the weekly order of business was officially amended so that after four weeks from the start of each session, one of the three Private Members’ Days — Thursday — was given over to Government Business. [22]

    Between 1906 and 1955, the use of special and sessional orders to give precedence to government business had appropriated virtually all the time remaining for private Members. In 1955, amendments to the Standing Orders once again formalized the practice of giving precedence to government business: the number of private Members’ days was reduced from each Monday, Wednesday and four Thursdays per session to six Mondays and two Thursdays per session. [23] Depending on the length of each session, this change, although on the surface a further reduction of the time for Private Members’ Business, at least guaranteed that these eight days would not be further nullified by the suspension of private Members’ time through the use of special or sessional orders.

    In 1962, the House abandoned the allocation of a certain number of days each session for Private Members’ Business and, instead, set aside one hour per day for that purpose. However, after this hour had been used 40 times per session, its use on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays would lapse. [24] In 1968, Private Members’ Business was removed from the order of business on Wednesdays. Thereafter, the rule establishing a maximum 40 considerations per session was retained for Mondays and Tuesdays only. [25]

    In 1982, the practice of considering Private Members’ Business for one hour on certain days was replaced by a single Private Members’ day: Wednesday. This meant a reduction of one hour of debating time per week, from four hours to three. [26] In late 1983, however, the House reverted to the consideration of Private Members’ Business for one hour per day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with no maximum number of times for consideration on Mondays and Tuesdays. [27] The omission of this part of the former rule meant that the amount of time provided for private Members actually increased as a result.

    (b) Precedence of Private Members’ Business Items

    From Confederation until the late 1950s, the two criteria which determined the order in which items of Private Members’ Business were considered were their date of notice and, in the case of bills, their stage in the legislative process. During this period as well, secondary criteria, aimed primarily at distinguishing the different categories of business from one another, also became important.

    In 1910, for example, an amendment to the Standing Orders [28] established a higher precedence for unopposed Private Members’ Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers. Meanwhile, opposed motions of this kind continued to be considered with other notices of motions until 1961, when they were given a specific category (“Notices of Motions (Papers)”) in the order of business and were debated on a designated day. [29]

    Similarly, rule changes in 1927 limited each Member to one notice of motion on the Order Paper at any one time. Such notices would be dropped if called twice and not proceeded with. [30] In addition, other rules existed regarding the standing over of private Members’ bills or notices of motions from one day to the next. [31] These kinds of exceptions to the usual chronological, stage-based ordering, coupled with frequent changes to the day-by-day order of business, eventually led to a complete sequencing of Private Members’ Business (see for example, the day-by-day order of business for 1955 and 1962).

    Throughout this period as well, the volume of Private Members’ Business increased, leading to further innovations in procedure. In 1958, Speaker Michener instituted a ballot system for notices of motions. [32] The notices were submitted by Members (each Member was allowed only one) at the start of a session and placed in a container from which, in the presence of the Speaker, the Clerk and the representatives of the parties, they were drawn to establish their sequence of consideration.

    Notices given after the draw were placed on the Order Paper after those which had been drawn. At the start of a subsequent session, a similar practice was extended to private Members’ public bills. As such, there were now two draws: one for notices of motions and one for bills. In the latter case, however, each Member could give notice of several bills, there being no limit as with notices of motions. In either case, when an item had been considered but not disposed of, it fell to the bottom of the list. Notices of motions called twice and not proceeded with were dropped, as before.

    Members soon realized that by placing several bills on notice, their chances in the draw improved. Inevitably, this approach resulted in some Members receiving more House time than others. To ensure a more equitable distribution, the party Whips limited the number of bills standing in the name of any Member among the first 50 bills drawn. In a separate development begun in the 1970s, the business to be considered during Private Members’ Business was organized by the Office of the Government House Leader, a practice criticized by some Members as undue government interference. Eventually, the Private Members’ Business Office, which organizes the conduct of this part of House business, was established under the Clerk. [33]

    The last major change of this period occurred in 1982, when all categories of Private Members’ Business (except private bills) were combined into one group, for which a single draw of Members’ names was held at the start of each session. A limitation, similar to that which had previously applied to bills, was retained for the first 50 items drawn, and at the same time, the limit of one notice of motion per Member was lifted. [34]

  2. 1986 to 2003

    The recommendations of the Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons (the “McGrath Committee”), established in December 1984, led to many important changes in the conduct of Private Members’ Business. In its final report to the House in June 1985, the Committee made the following observations:

    The House does not attach any great importance to Private Members’ Business as it is now organized…. Members are seldom greatly concerned to claim the priorities they have drawn in the ballot governing the use of private Members’ time, and this is largely because private Members’ bills and motions rarely come to a vote. [35]

    The subsequent recommendations in the report formed the basis of Standing Order amendments adopted on a provisional basis after lengthy debate in the House in February 1986 and made permanent, with some amendments, in June 1987. [36] The main features of this reform remained in effect until 2003, though many modifications were made in the details of the Standing Orders. The principal changes during this period are discussed below under three headings: Time for and Suspension of Private Members’ Business; Precedence of Private Members’ Business Items; and the Selection of Votable Items.

    (a) Time for and Suspension of Private Members’ Business

    From 1986 to 1991, no changes to the Standing Orders altered the four hours per week of House time provided for the consideration of Private Members’ Business; i.e., one hour per day every day except Wednesdays, though changes were made concerning the time Private Members’ Business was to be taken up on certain days. [37] In April 1991, numerous modifications were made to the order of business of the House, one of which was the addition of a Private Members’ Hour on Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., meaning there would be Private Members’ Business every sitting day. [38] In February 1994, further changes to the House’s schedule resulted in adjustments to the time when Private Members’ Business would be taken up, although one hour a day continued to be set aside for this purpose. [39]

    The conditions under which Private Members’ Hour could be suspended were the object of extended discussions in the House.

    Of these conditions, the two that received the greatest attention were the Standing Order that suspended Private Members’ Business on allotted days and the Standing Order that suspended Private Members’ Business in the event that a Member whose item was scheduled for debate could not attend the House that day.

    In its Third Report to the House on June 19, 1986, the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Business expressed concerns about the suspension of Private Members’ Hour:

    Since debate began under the new rules… there have been, theoretically, thirty-two hours for Private Members’ Business; but only fifteen have been used. Ten were suspended because of allotted days and seven were lost because Members in whose names the motions stood were unable to attend the House. [40]

    The report subsequently recommended that Private Members’ Business not be suspended on allotted days and that the Speaker be empowered to exchange a non-votable item of a Member who cannot be present with a similar item of a Member who can.

    An additional problem was raised via a point of order several months later, to the effect that since the House continues with prior business — i.e., usually Government Orders — when there is no Private Members’ Business due to the absence of a Member whose item is at the top of the order of precedence, private Members who may wish to expedite the business of the government at the expense of their own may simply give notice of their inability to be present on a given day, whether they actually attend the House or not. [41]

    These and similar concerns ultimately led the House in December 1986 to adopt a special order allowing the Speaker to exchange non-votable items should one Member give the Chair at least 24-hours’ notice that he or she cannot be present in the House when his or her item is due for consideration. The order also specified that if no exchange was possible, the House would continue with the business before it prior to Private Members’ Hour, provided that no motion to extend the sitting would be receivable and any recorded divisions requested would be automatically deferred. [42] This change was incorporated into the Standing Orders in June 1987. [43] In April 1991, further changes were made increasing the required notice to 48 hours and permitting any item in the order of precedence to be exchanged, whether or not it was votable. For days when no exchange was possible, the prohibition against motions to extend the sitting and the provisions regarding the deferral of divisions were both removed. It was also specified that when Private Members’ Business is suspended on a Monday, Government Orders could begin at 11:00 a.m. [44]

    With regard to the suspension of Private Members’ Business on allotted days, numerous objections were raised by certain Members and by the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges and Procedure. [45] In particular, it was noted that these suspensions made it difficult to plan for debates. [46] This led to changes to the Standing Orders in May 1990 to permit Private Members’ Business on allotted days, except on the last allotted day in the June period. This change was made permanent in April 1991. [47]

    The Standing Orders adopted in 1986 provided that the final hour of debate at report stage and third reading of a private Member’s bill could not be taken up on a Friday. [48] In 1989, following changes in the schedule of the House, such debate was also prohibited on a Monday. [49] Noting that this resulted in the suspension of Private Members’ Hour when no exchange was possible and given changes in the rules for the deferral of recorded divisions, a committee recommended in June 1995 that this provision be removed. The House agreed with this recommendation. [50]

    (b) Precedence of Private Members’ Business Items

    Between 1982 and 1986, Members gave notice of items of business they wished to have considered (as they do now). The sequence for consideration of such items — i.e., second reading and reference of bills, notices of motions and notices of motions (papers) — was then established by a draw, and items were taken up according to this sequence. Once debate on any item not otherwise disposed of was adjourned or interrupted after its first consideration, that item dropped to the bottom of the list. This provision, and the fact that the list of private Members’ items was often long, effectively combined to militate against an item of Private Members’ Business ever coming to a vote. In addition, the Standing Orders specified certain types of items to be taken up before others whose sequence was also established by the draw, reducing even further the possibility that the House would reach a decision on most items of Private Members’ Business.

    The overall precedence of items of Private Members’ Business was altered by amendments to the Standing Orders in February 1986. From all items of Private Members’ Business, 20 would be drawn at the beginning of the session, and others from time to time thereafter, to establish an “order of precedence”, and that only items in this order would be considered during Private Members’ Hour. In addition, the 1986 changes specified that a standing committee would be empowered to select, from among items on the order of precedence, a maximum of six. These “selected” items, if not otherwise disposed of when considered a first time, would not drop from the Order Paper as most unselected items did. [51] Instead, they were placed at the bottom of the order of precedence and considered again when they reached the top. After five hours of consideration, selected items had to come to a vote.

    A second set of Standing Order amendments in June 1987 altered the order in which items of Private Members’ Business were considered. The Order Paper would contain all types of items, including private bills and private Members’ public bills originating in the Senate. [52] No item could be considered before the first item on the order of precedence.

    In December 1989, the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, Procedure and Private Members’ Business presented a report recommending important changes to the manner in which items were drawn for the order of precedence. Noting that the draw favoured Members who had submitted many items and that motions tended to be drawn more frequently than bills, the Committee recommended that the order of precedence be established by drawing from among the names of Members who had submitted bills and motions, rather than by drawing the items themselves. The Members drawn would then choose which of their items they wished to have debated. The Committee felt that the order of precedence should be composed of an equal number of bills and motions, which would be accomplished by having one draw of the names of Members with eligible bills and another draw of the names of Members with eligible motions (though no Member could be drawn twice). All of the drawn names would then be combined and drawn again to determine the order in which the items would be debated. To allow more items to be considered by the House, the Committee also suggested reducing the time for debate of votable items from five hours to three. [53] Although the report was not concurred in, it did form the basis of Standing Order amendments adopted on a provisional basis on May 10, 1990. [54]

    In December 1990, the (renamed) Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, after reviewing the success of the provisional Standing Orders, recommended that they be made permanent. [55] The House did not adopt the Committee’s report, but the provisional rules were incorporated into permanent Standing Order amendments proposed by the government, which the House adopted on April 11, 1991. [56] The following year, given that Private Members’ Business was being taken up more frequently and that votable items were being disposed of after three hours, the House agreed to increase the number of items in the order of precedence from 20 to 30. [57]

    Some Members were dissatisfied with the random draw process and suggested other ways by which items could be added to the order of precedence. In November 1998, a new procedure was established allowing for an item of Private Members’ Business to be added to the order of precedence if the sponsor obtained the support of 100 Members. It was thought that this would allow items with broad support to bypass the random draw process. [58] However, only three items were ever added to the order of precedence pursuant to this process, one of which led to procedural disputes about the interpretation of the Standing Order. [59] The 100-signature rule was deleted in 2001. [60]

    A new rule was adopted in April 1997 to ensure that private Members’ bills referred to committee would be returned to the House and to the order of precedence in a timely fashion. Members expressed frustration that committees would sometimes decide not to report a bill. [61] The House adopted a private Member’s motion adding a new Standing Order which required committees to report private Members’ bills within six months or they would be deemed to have been reported without amendment. If a committee had misgivings about a bill, it could present a recommendation that the bill not proceed further. [62] The rule was amended in 1998 to require that the report be made within 60 sitting days and to also provide that committees could request an extension of 30 sitting days. [63]

    Another change adopted in 1998 allowed for the reinstatement of a private Members’ bill which had died on the Order Paper at prorogation. It was felt that since prorogation was beyond the control of private Members, its impact on Private Members’ Business should be minimal. A reinstated bill would be deemed to have been approved at all stages completed in the previous session. Bills which had been placed in the order of precedence in the previous session, once reinstated, would be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence. [64]

    (c) Selection of votable items

    As mentioned above, the rules adopted in 1986 provided that a standing committee be charged with choosing from the order of precedence, a certain number of “selected” (or “votable”) items. These items would remain on the agenda either until they were decided, or until the session ended. [65] The committee’s report on votable items was neither debatable nor amendable, and was deemed adopted when tabled.

    The first committee to have been charged with the responsibility of selecting votable items was the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Business, established in February 1986. It was combined with another committee to form the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, Procedure and Private Members’ Business in April 1989. [66] In April 1991, this responsibility was transferred to the newly created Standing Committee on House Management. It was this Committee that first created a Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, composed of one Member of each recognized party, to fulfil its mandate regarding votable items. [67] The Committee was renamed the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in January 1994. A subcommittee continued to be responsible for recommending votable items. [68]

    The Committee reported its first selection of votable items to the House in April 1986, and in May 1986, published a list of criteria upon which its selection of items would be based. [69] The Private Members’ Business Committee added further criteria in its Seventh Report to the House in October 1987. [70] These criteria remained unchanged until April 1999, when the Procedure and House Affairs Committee recommended that they be updated and simplified. [71]

    Initially, a maximum of six of the 20 items in the order of precedence could be selected as votable. In May 1990, when the rules were changed to ensure an equal number of bills and motions in the order of precedence, an amendment was also made so that a maximum of three bills and three motions could be selected. [72] The order of precedence was increased to 30 items in April 1992, leading to a corresponding increase in the maximum number of votable items, which was set at five bills and five motions. [73] Finally, in 1998, the specific restrictions on bills and motions were removed, allowing the Committee to select any ten items. [74]

    Members frequently objected to the process and the criteria by which items were selected, though Speakers invariably refused to intervene. [75]

  3. 2003 to 2005

    On June 12, 2001, the House adopted a motion instructing the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to draft changes to the Standing Orders which would improve procedures for Private Members’ Business. The Committee was also specifically asked to develop a proposal for allowing all items to be votable. [76] Debate on the motion revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the rules for Private Members’ Business as they then existed.

    The Committee’s Sixty-Sixth Report, tabled a year later, presented a number of principles upon which it felt a new regime for Private Members’ Business should be founded. Two in particular led to significant reforms. The Committee recommended that each eligible Member should have at least one opportunity per Parliament to present an item and that all items should be votable unless a panel judged them to be non-votable according to a few very specific criteria. [77] Though the session ended before the House could consider these recommendations, the Committee presented a similar report in the following session which was concurred in by the House in November 2002. [78]

    A special committee considering procedural reforms agreed with the proposed changes and recommended that a number of Standing Order amendments be implemented on a provisional basis. In March 2003, these were adopted by the House. [79] The rules were made permanent, with several modifications, in 2005. [80] The most significant changes are described below.

    (a) Precedence of Private Members’ Business Items

    While preserving the concept of an order of precedence, that is to say a short list of items which would be afforded priority consideration, the rules adopted in 2003 eliminated the random draws that were periodically used to replenish it. Instead, at the beginning of a Parliament, there is a single draw of the names of all Members of Parliament. These names form a List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. The first 30 eligible names on the List form the initial order of precedence and, as items are considered, more names are added to the order of precedence according to the List. It was hoped that each eligible Member would get a chance to present at least one item over the course of the Parliament. Another draw would be held only when the List had been exhausted.

    Since the schedule for dealing with Private Members’ Business is now based on the length of a Parliament, it was established that the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business and the order of precedence continue from session to session. Private Members’ bills and motions thus do not die on the Order Paper at prorogation. This eliminated the need for a procedure to reinstate items, although the rule was maintained to allow for the reinstatement of Senate bills.

    To allow the House to consider more items, the time during which each votable item is considered was reduced to two hours. A provision was also inserted to ensure that at least ten sitting days passed between the first hour and the second hour of debate.

    The House made only minor amendments to these rules upon making them permanent in 2005. The two-week notice requirement for private Members’ motions and the requirement for two weeks to elapse between first and second reading of private Members’ bills were both eliminated. These were largely unnecessary, given the manner in which items are now added to the order of precedence. More significantly, the House adopted procedures to ensure that decisions be taken on committee reports which either request an extension of time for consideration in committee of a private Members’ bill or recommend that a private Members’ bill not proceed further.

    (b) Designation of non-votable items

    Perhaps the most significant change in the new provisional Standing Orders was the transformation in the role of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business. Rather than having this Subcommittee select a limited number of items to come to a vote, all items in the order of precedence are required to come to a vote after two hours of consideration. The Subcommittee is now mandated to determine if any item should be designated non-votable according to limited criteria. [81] In addition, a process was established so that, when an item has been designated non-votable, the sponsor of the item can appeal that designation, first to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and then to the entire House.

    Other changes provided that the sponsor of an item must consent to any amendment proposed to his or her motion or to the motion for second reading of his or her bill. [82] In addition, all recorded divisions on items of Private Members’ Business are automatically deferred to the following Wednesday.

    Upon making the rules permanent, a requirement was added that a report be made to the House when the Subcommittee has agreed that items should remain votable. As well, it was specified that debate should not begin on an item until its votable status has been confirmed or until the conclusion of the appeal process for a non-votable item. Also, the sponsor was allowed to waive the right to appeal when his or her item was designated non-votable.

    (c) Time for and Suspension of Private Members’ Business

    No change was made to the Standing Orders regarding the amount of time for Private Members’ Business, which remains one hour per sitting day. However, the House did remove the provisions that Private Members’ Business be suspended on days when there is resumed debate on the Budget or on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. Also, since most items are debated for two hours only and since recorded divisions are automatically deferred, debate is interrupted at the end of the final hour rather than 15 minutes before its expiry. Finally, upon making the Standing Orders permanent, the maximum time for debate on motions for papers was set at two hours, like all other votable items, although a right of reply for the government and the sponsor remains for these types of motions.

    Changes were also made to limit the number of exchanges which could be requested by sponsors of an item. [83] Any Member whose absence causes Private Members’ Hour to be suspended is prohibited from requesting an exchange in the future and will see his or her item drop from the Order Paper if he or she is absent a second time.

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